Somebody’s Watching You!

 Somebody’s Watching You!   
Managing Your TouchPoints

Perception is reality.

Talent Management is essential to organizational success. (Okay, this is an apple pie statement, but is it so true!) A key Talent Management process is the evaluation of employees to ensure that the organization has the skills it needs to achieve its goals. Talent evaluations can range from formal and recurring sessions to informal and sometimes ad hoc sessions. The results of the sessions impact individual careers no matter the level of formality or frequency. 

I participated in many talent evaluation sessions during my 34 years in the business world. This article shares observations and thoughts that may help you manage your career.

The two (2) criteria commonly used to evaluate individual employees and determine their ranking in the organizational talent pool are job performance and the potential for advancement.

Job performance is straightforward, documented, and tends to be objective. Potential for advancement tends to be subjective, based on the perceptions of employees by talent.

My colleagues and I would sometimes enter talent evaluation sessions certain of the rankings that individuals in our groups would receive. I sometimes thought ahead to the favorable news that I would communicate to a subordinate. “You are ranked very favorably in the organizational talent pool. Keep on doing what you are doing.”  And, I thought of the feather in my hat for being known as an outstanding developer of talent!

Sometimes the rug would be pulled from under my great expectations. Individuals with whom my subordinate may have had minimal direct interaction had formed less favorable opinions or assessments of my subordinate than me. Talent evaluators participating in the session included my superiors, peers, and members of the human resources support staff. I refer to these individuals as career brokers—individuals who can decide or influence promotions and assignments. In the instances of downsizing and reorganizations, individual employee talent pool rankings served as decision criteria for which employees would be retained and which individuals would be terminated.    

I refer to the interactions between individuals and career brokers as TouchPoints. TouchPoints can occur either through direct or indirect interactions. TouchPoints are stages that allow individuals to demonstrate their capabilities and potential for advancement. You may be performing before a talent judge and may not realize it. Touchpoints include:

  • How well you communicate (email messages are key TouchPoints)
  • How well you conduct meetings
  • How you participate in meetings
  • How you deliver presentations
  • Your ability to get approval or support of your ideas and proposals
  • Your demeanor (how you respond, greet individuals, interact with others, etc.)
  • How you present yourself

How well are you managing your TouchPoints with your career brokers?

  • Where do you want to be in your organization’s talent pool?
  • Do you wonder why you are not being promoted despite your solid job performance appraisals?
  • Do you know who the career brokers are in your organization?
  • Would the career brokers hire or promote you based on their TouchPoints with you?
  • Would the career brokers decide to retain or terminate you if the organization decided to downsize or reorganize?
  • What type of relationship do you have with the career brokers in your organization?
  • Are you presenting yourself in light of where you want to advance in the organization or where you are now? (How often have you heard individuals say “I have difficulty describing the traits and attributes of a future manager or executive, but I know one when I see one”.)
  • Is your Personal Brand (what you stand for, the value you offer, and what makes you unique) evident as you experience TouchPoints with career brokers
  • Is managing touchpoints part of your career management strategy?

People, by and large, will relate to the image you project.  

Contact Fields of Success to discuss how we could help you manage your touchpoints. Fields of Success offers complimentary coaching sessions.

Linwood Bailey is a career coach and the author of The Business of Me: Your Job … Your Career … Your Value. The Business of Me provides a career management and information resource designed for today’s business professional. Since 2008, Linwood has enabled business professionals to manage their most important economic asset—their careers. Linwood, the been there coach, provides innovative and practical career management solutions derived from his 34 years of experience managing functions and people in multiple industries, regions, and corporate cultures.